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What’s Your Idiosyncrasy?

August 17, 2014

In John Green’s novel Looking for Alaska, the protagonist, Pudge, attempts to win over his new floormates by offering them a fun fact about himself: “Um, I know a lot of people’s last words.” As a fan (and a constant critic) of young adult novels, I immediately picked out this detail and classified it as unrealistic. I believed Pudge could perfectly recite the last words of over a dozen people as much as I believe non-religious TV characters can identify Bible passages when presented with some cryptic riddle or fake messiah. The brain is capable of a lot of things, but memorizing the entire Bible in case someone needs an emergency Jesus consult is not one of them. As much as I appreciated the clever tie-in to Alaska’s accident and Pudge’s labyrinth assignment, I was still not convinced that anyone could seriously have a talent or quirk as random as “dying declarations.”

That is, until I discovered my own.

A few months ago, I was sitting at a restaurant with my family discussing Taylor Swift’s dating history when I pointed out something I thought was common knowledge:

Me: Did you know she’s 5’10″? Harry Styles was only 5’11” meaning she probably had to wear flats like, all the time. Otherwise, she’d be taller. But maybe it’s not actually a problem, because Taylor Lautner was only 5’9″.

Unbeknownst to me, my dinner party had stopped listening around the second sentence. Once I had finished name-dropping celebrities and their proximity to the earth, I leaned back and waited for the group to compliment me on my well-constructed argument. Instead, I got this:

Mom: Why do you know how tall these people are? Why do you know that?

The tone she was using was not exactly disgust. It was the kind of tone you’d here from someone who’s just endured a 3-hour long lecture on the psychological effects of emoticons or the real reason why cats purr. Her question had the undertone of blasphemy, not because she was particularly offended by my height statistics but because she was dumbfounded that anyone could think such information was important enough to remember for more than 5 seconds. She was confused but also intrigued, the way you might feel after seeing someone leave the gym not looking like the life had been drained out of them.

Mom: …how tall is Ryan Seacrest?

Me: He always looks pretty short on TV but he’s actually like 5’8″. But you know who’s really short? Danny Devito. He’s 4’11”. He doesn’t even have a growth defect or anything, he’s just short.

Mom: Hayden Panettiere?

Me: 5’0″ exactly. Her boyfriend is 6’6″. I don’t really understand how that works.

Mom: Mmhmm…

If you were wondering what 5’0″ and 6’6″ looks like side by side.

Before I could even realize what was happening, my mom was throwing her nervous look around the table to see if anyone else had caught my extraordinary display of weirdness. It was at that moment that I understood Pudge’s idiosyncrasy, his unnatural fascination with dying last words. It was not something that he developed intentionally. (I mean, I doubt anyone sits in their room and thinks “You know what I’m missing? An extensive knowledge of dying last words. Let’s work on that.”) No, the obsession simply collected in his mind, probably gradually, without his knowledge, until it had created a permanent settlement in his brain that was too hard to evict. Likewise, I had mentally recorded celebrity heights, not for any scientific reason (Was there a correlation between height and Taylor Swift’s romantic feelings? Not that I could tell.) but because some nerdy particle in my brain decided that it wanted to hold onto that information for future use. Then that one particle recruited other particles and before I even knew it, there was an entire department in my subconscious dedicated to the subject. (I’d attempt to shut the whole operation down but its members are too powerful. Anything that can survive the brain purge that happens before a big test or research paper cannot be defeated in one day, by one person.)

And so, I ask you: what’s your “thing”? What useless string of information do you secretly indulge in or hold onto for family dinner outings? Think hard. It might be hiding somewhere in your brain, behind biblical quotes and song lyrics from your favorite childhood hits.

30 Honest Facebook Relationship Statuses

May 31, 2014

1) Looking for Someone To Be the Other Half of My Couples Halloween Costume

2) Looking for Someone To Fix Everything I Break (Sinks, Cars, Laws, etc.)

3) Looking for Someone, Literally Anyone, So My Parents Will Stop Questioning My Relationship Status and/or Sexual Orientation

4) Looking for Someone To Feed Me Compliments (Or At Least Chinese Food)

5) Looking for Someone To Take Sickeningly Cute Photobooth Selfies With

6) Looking for A Chauffeur A Car Lover

7) Looking for Someone To Shatter My Future Cat Lady Fears

8) Looking for a Platonic Cuddle Buddy

9) Looking for Someone to Spoil Me

10) Looking for Someone to Spoil

11) Looking for An Exotic Prince

12) Looking for Someone Who Would Make Cute Babies

13) Looking for Someone Who May Get Famous

14) Looking for a Cat

15) Looking for Someone to Drag to Boring Events

16) Looking for Channing Tatum’s Abs

17) In a Relationship with a Guy I Made Out with Who Got Clingy and Decided He Wanted Something More

18) In a Relationship Until the End of the Summer

19) In a Relationship Until I Start College

20) In a Relationship Until Leonardo Dicaprio Returns My Calls

21) In a Relationship for the Sake of Not Being Alone

22) In a Relationship with My Body Pillow

23) In a Relationship With Someone Mediocre Because Why Not?

24) Single (But Ready to Mingle)

25) Single Unless Approached By Creepy Guys In Clubs

26) Single (But Secretly Dating a Russian Model My Parents Would Disapprove Of)

27) Single and Pretending I’m Okay with It Because I’m a “Strong, Independent Woman Who Don’t Need No Man”

28) Single Until My Ex Comes Running Back

29) Single But Open to Booty Calls

30) Hopeless and Awkward and Desperate for Love!

 

If English Majors Had A Theme Park

May 8, 2014

There are a lot of things in life that I simply don’t understand. Like, why do some people find mustaches attractive? And, more significantly, why is there a theme park dedicated to a chocolate company and not one for English majors? Considering the popularity of Universal’s Harry Potter world, it seems like the next logical step. But what would an English major amusement park look like? What would it even involve? I have some theories.

List of Attractions:

- The Holden Caulfield Carousel: Featuring seats shaped like flying ducks and hunting hats, young parkgoers would enjoy this ride’s slow and uneventful pace. Adults, on the other hand, would grow annoyed with the use of profane rants instead of music and leave the ride feeling generally crummy.

- The Five-Paragraph-Essay Drop of Doom: Shooting up at over 55 miles per hour, the “Drop of Doom” gives thrill-seekers a chance to perfect their writing and their screaming! After strapping in, guests will be shot to the “Introduction” at the top of the tower and gradually bounce between body paragraphs until descending back down to the ground floor, or, the Conclusion.

- The Edgar Allan Poe Haunted Mansion: Though the raven theme establishes a perfectly scary atmosphere, the depressing poetry intermissions make this attraction the place where happiness goes to die.

- The James Joyce Train Ride: Everyone talks up this ride despite the fact that it is always too long and anti-climactic. Just when you think it’s about to be exciting, the conductor announces a cryptic, semi-philosophical quote over the speakers and makes you question whether or not you understood half of what you just experienced.

- The Supertramp Sky Rail: With cabins made of old buses, the Alexander Supertramp Sky Rail would give crowds a stunning overhead view of the entire park. If the ride’s 100-foot-high cables are too daunting, passengers can also enjoy a series of Thoreau inscriptions and nearly illegible journal entries provided in the Chris McCandless Park Guidebook. Burnt dollar bills are also included as a bonus souvenir.

- Hamlet’s “Spinning Spirit” Ride: This mini-attraction, which admits guests to a castle-themed hatch and spins them at a mind-boggling velocity, often causes hallucinations and sometimes, death, just like Hamlet himself!

- Willy Wonka’s Psychedelic Boat Ride: Creating an entire building out of chocolate can be a bit costly, so this theme park has the next best thing: a tunnel boat ride just like the one in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, minus the gravity-defying vessel and the group of annoying children. Actually, scratch that second part. Annoying children are still included. It is a theme park, after all.

- The “Star-Crossed Lovers” Roller Coaster: On the outside, this twisty, fast-paced wooden beast looks like the park’s most exciting attraction but loyal guests will tell you the coaster starts too suddenly, moves too fast, and often comes close to ending in a fiery wreck. The conductor’s miscommunication with the park’s supervisor will ultimately cause the coaster’s cars to go flying off the track, ending in a lawsuit that gets the park shut down and unites the community in mourning.

- The Hemingway: Dedicated to literature’s favorite lush, The Hemingway provides adults with a place to go while they’re kids are off enjoying the park’s numerous attractions. With old typewriters and alcohol bottles lining the walls, it’s a nice haven for those who can’t handle the intensity of thrill rides.

The GrammAHHH Water Park Subdivision: Contrary to popular belief, the GrammAHHH Water Park was not made only for overly-excited Bostonians. This subdivision aims to educate and entertain guests through everyone’s favorite subject: grammar. Starting with the Punctuation Pyramid, which features an 80 foot high, Egyptian-themed water-slide decorated with punctuation marks, the attractions in the GrammAHHH Water Park leave little to be desired. For folks looking for a bit more action, the Run-On Rapids and the Verb Tense Teacups provide hours of entertainment for the whole family. And if you’re looking for something more relaxing at the end of the day, the English Major park has you covered: the Stream of Consciousness Lazy River brings guests right back to the entrance so they may leave or start their theme park journey all over again. Or, so it goes.

10 Creepiest Dating Sites In Existence

April 29, 2014

In an increasingly digitized world, it’s no surprise that dating has gone from “Where did you guys meet?” to “What was your first message to each other?” With online universities increasing in popularity and Facebook stalking developing into an Olympic sport, I see no reason why dating can’t find a new home on the Internet. While there are some downsides to online dating (maybe Steve has a reason behind his self-declared giraffe fetish that can only be explained in person), the practice is also helpful for busy individuals looking for someone special. But how “special” these potential companions should be is a whole ‘nother question. (And you thought OKCupid was bad.)

1) SurvivalistSingles.com

Describe your apocalypse plan in the case of a zombie attack. What does your bunker look like? If you were stuck in the woods with nothing but an African vase and nail polish, how would you survive? I imagine these are the kind of questions they include on SurvivalistSingles.com, a site dedicated to individuals looking for someone to face the end of the world with. On a scale from 1 to MacGyver, how compatible are you?

2) PeekedInterest.com

If you’ve ever enjoyed being gawked at through your window by your 50-year-old neighbor but you’re too afraid to make the first move, Peeked Interest is the site for you. Started by a pair of students at the University of British Columbia, Peeked Interest allows users to take a picture of a girl or boy they think is attractive, post it publically, and wait for the person in the photo to take notice. If said subject notices their picture on the site and wants to meet their photographer, they can exchange contact information and go on a date. Yes, I’m serious. While I’m sure the creators were going for a “Missed Connections” vibe, what ultimately came out will likely result in more restraining orders than dates. Luckily, the site has since been shut down.

3) WomenBehindBars.com

In 2009, the Internet exploded over reports about a new dating website that matched up users with convicted criminals who were serving jail time. Though the site, ConjugalHarmony.com, was a joke, that didn’t stop other people from thinking the concept was a good idea. WomenBehindBars.com, started around 1997, features incarcerated women from all over the country looking for penpals and potential life partners. The catch? People seeking to start a connection with said inmates must pay to access the address of their convict-of-choice.

4) STDSoulmates.com

This website is not so much “creepy” as it is weird. STDSoulmates.com invites people infected with sexually transmitted diseases to date others with similar medical problems. At first glance, my first instinct is to laugh, especially after hearing the slew of other similar websites: H-YPE.com (Herpes-specific dating), STDFriends.com, and HerpesPassions.com. Upon closer inspection, though, the idea doesn’t seem too ludicrous. After all, I can’t imagine how hard a first date must be knowing you have to bring up that whole “herpes” thing before the end of the night.

5) FindYourFaceMate.com

Have you ever just wanted to date yourself? Now, you (basically) can! Using “sophisticated facial recognition software” and a collection of ego-driven users, FindYourFaceMatch.com lets you find a companion that looks just like you! Just upload a picture and let the website find your ideal other-half. Now you can stop kissing your mirror at night.

6) DailyDiapers.com

DailyDiapers.com advertises itself as a role-playing dating site for those interested in paraphilic infantilism. Or, put simply: diaper fetishism. As their website notes: “Daily Diapers is the premiere community for Adult Babies, Diaper Lovers, Big Kids, Mommies and Daddies featuring over 25,500 FREE photos of diapered women, men and couples…if you wear diapers, this is your online home!” The site’s tagline speaks for itself.

7) TwinsRealm.com

If anything, having a twin is beneficial because you always have someone to go on a double date with. (Then again, I’m not a twin, so I wouldn’t know how awkward that might actually be.) But what if both you and your sibling had the same “type”? Twins Realm attempts to solve that problem by pairing twins up with other twins. Though not exclusively a dating site, Twins Realms offers a section that allows twins to meet and mingle with other real-life twins so that they can produce more twins and create a twin army.

8) AshleyMadison.com

If any one of these websites baffles me the most, it’s AshleyMadison.com, which says a lot considering the adult diapers dating site is on this list. AshleyMadison.com is a website for cheating adults to find their “perfect affair partner.” Users can classify themselves as “Attached Male/Female Seeking Male/Female,” “Single Male/Female Seeking Male/Female,” or “Horrible, Horrible Person.” That last one’s not really on there, but I feel like it’s generally implied. If the site’s ironic claim to a “Trusted Security Award” doesn’t reel you in, its tagline definitely might: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

9) SugarDaddie.com

SugarDaddie.com is for anyone who’s ever wanted to try prostitution without having the negative stigma that comes with it. Though the site offers opportunities to meet attractive, wealthy, and desirable people, what it’s really trying to provide is the chance to spoil or be spoiled, even if that means trading sexual favors for a new car or cell phone.

10) DateVampires.com

I could tell you that DateVampires.com is not a site for people who think they’re vampires who want to date other vampires, but I would be lying. I would also be depriving you of a very interesting (and potentially scarring) mental image. Marketed as “the premier Vampire dating service that helps blood sucking singles establish their brood,” the site helps all those Twilight fantasies come to fruition. I’m surprised there isn’t a site for Wizard Dating at this point.

Everything That Was Wrong with the American Horror Story: Coven Finale

February 2, 2014

AHS

I love the new season of American Horror Story like a mother loves her teenage child. Which is to say, I will gush about it to anyone that will listen, but sometimes, I just wish it would make better choices. Though season three certainly had its moments (Fiona’s cunning quips give me goosies when I replay them in my head), the last few episodes of Coven were surprisingly lackluster, which makes me think Ryan Murphy exhausted all of the good plotlines early on and consulted Internet forums to fill in the second half of the season. The finale, it seems, was the final nail in the coffin, for a number of reasons.

1) Technically, Cordelia cannot be the Supreme.

When Zoe’s interest in the Supremacy first manifests, she is discouraged by Madison Montgomery’s impressive abilities. Later on, however, she discovers that in order to be the Supreme, a witch must be in perfect health. With her heart murmur, Madison does not fit the bill. Why, then, is Cordelia crowned the next Supreme when she is unable to conceive? Why force viewers to endure the painfully awkward sex ritual between Cordelia and Hank if not to make that fact clear? Not to mention she stabbed herself in the face a couple times, which makes me question her mental stability. (And don’t even get me started on how her eyes miraculously reappeared.)

Seriously, does nobody remember this?

2) Everything was rushed, just like the whole second half of the season.

Primetime television only allows for an hour per episode, maybe two. I get that. However, that doesn’t make it acceptable to pack in 3 hours worth of material into a 45-minute time slot. By the second commercial break, 4 of the 7 tasks had been completed and one of the characters was dead. (If this wasn’t the finale, I would not have lamented this fact as much, considering half of the characters have died and come back to life at this point.) By the next break, Cordelia had stepped in and completed all the tasks like it was nothing and the hunt for the Supreme was over. If I wanted to watch accelerated plotlines, Ryan, I would’ve turned on Breaking Bad. 

3) Myrtle’s death was a case of faulty logic.

Riddle me this: if Myrtle, who dedicated her life to protecting the art of witchcraft and Fiona’s dysfunctional Coven, is deemed corrupted enough (albeit, by herself) to be burned at the stake, why should Queenie be allowed to stick around? After all, she did abandon the group when they needed her most and for Fiona’s number one enemy, no less. To push the envelope further, she also killed Cordelia’s husband, who was really doing the Coven a favor when he stormed Marie Laveau ‘s voodoo clubhouse. And yet, in the finale, Queenie is not only praised for her “bravery” but honored with a spot on Cordelia’s council. As much as I appreciate her sarcasm and sass, Queenie earned a spot on the stake next to Myrtle more than she did next to Cordelia.

4) Misty did not have to die.

At least, not like that. While I understand one of the witches was bound to fail at the “Seven Wonders” test (the amount of times AHS advertisements promoted a potential fatality demanded at least one), Misty Day simply did not deserve the death that she was granted. This is especially true considering that she suffers the same cringe-worthy fate as Fiona, who was deemed soulless by the Devil himself. Did Misty, who spent the majority of her days frolicking in the woods and bringing helpless creatures back to life (Madison excluded), deserve such a heartless ending? I can justify most any fictitious death as long as there is a purpose behind it. Here, I find none.

5) The ending was downright cliché.

If you were paying attention, you probably could have predicted every word of Cordelia’s end speech before she even opened her mouth. “Fiona was bad, I will be good, this Coven will be the bestest, etc. etc. etc.” I don’t mean to rag on Cordelia because she was one of my favorite underdogs this season but her inspirational speech at the end left a lot to be desired.

6) Since when is “inception” a power?

In the end, Fiona reveals that she gave the Ax Man a “vision” of him murdering her in order to trick Cordelia into thinking she was dead. While I know “mind control” is a common power among witches, no where in the series did they mention “inception” abilities. (Though I’m glad they did because now I can assume that Leonardo Dicaprio was part wizard and that only makes him more appealing.)

7) There were too many “fillers.”   

As I’ve said, Myrtle didn’t need to be burned at the stake and we certainly didn’t need to see the procession following her to her death or her teary talk with Cordelia beforehand. Kyle’s undying love (lolz) for Zoe was a given so the “crying over her corpse” thing seemed unnecessary, as was…well, basically the entire second half of the episode.

Unless the producers pull a Vince Gilligan and release an alternate ending to the finale, this season of American Horror Story ended with a disappointing fizzle and no amount of magic can bring it back.

HAPPY BIRFDAY TO…Wait, Where Did My Money Go?

February 1, 2014

This is a post from AdventurersAbroad, my joint study abroad blog with my friends. In an effort to not spam you all, I’ll try to keep all my SA posts over there but some of them might sneak over to this page every once in awhile.

I’ve been in Brighton for a little over a week now, during which time I’ve realized a few things. First and foremost, everything in the UK is obscenely expensive. Considering the British Pound is worth 1.6 US dollars, I’ve fallen into the habit of doubling every price tag I see so I don’t fool myself into thinking I’ve stumbled upon a deal. A fancy shirt for ten pounds? Twenty American dollars. Put it back on the rack. Even Poundland (the UK dollar store) seems overpriced at times and I’m worried my frugal spending habits are only going to exacerbate from this point on. Living here is like willfully applying for the Cheap Person SATs.

The hidden costs I’ve uncovered don’t make matters better. When I applied to the University of Sussex, I was under the impression that the town was a 10 minute walk away from campus, which, coming from a school that doesn’t even have a town to walk to, made me pretty ecstatic. Come to find out it is, in fact, a twenty minute bus ride from campus, one which costs 3.50 pounds (7 dollars) each time you use it. While there’s plenty to do on campus, the grocery store and bank both lie in the center of the coastal town and so, I’ve found myself riding the bus more than I had originally expected.

Most of my time is spent doing this at the bus stop, also in the rain.

On top of that, I had to pay for a keycard to get into the media building where one of my classes is, which doesn’t seem entirely fair considering I’m only going to be here for a semester and I only have one class in that wing. It’s an abuse of power, really.

Apart from the barrels of cash I’ve had to hand over, though, I’m starting to enjoy my time at this school. It’s significantly bigger than Wheaton (by about 11,000 people, to be exact) but as a result, there’s always something happening on campus. (And the students here take advantage of that whenever possible. These people go out in one week than I have in my entire life.) Students are fond of house parties here. My friend and I went to a birthday party with our flatmates the other day (not to party but to observe). Though the International Students ultimately ended up crowding together in the corner of the room, we still got to mingle with our flatmates from time to time, who questioned us about American culture and food products. (“Do Bostonians eat a lot of Boston Cream doughnuts?” and “You guys hang out at Krispy Kreme, right?” Apparently, the British think we’re all doughnut fanatics.) We also learned what flapjacks are, and they are nothing like pancakes, which is what we expected.

No, actually, we’re not that weird.

The best part though, for me at least, was listening to the people singing at the end of the night. The British accent turned what would have been a collective round of “Happy birthday to youuu” into “Happy birfday to youuu” which I appreciated. It’s the little things.

Also, this happened:

British student during a discussion on why Americans may enjoy movies more than other forms of media: “But I heard Americans can’t read? Like, 1 in 3 American adults are illiterate?”

If anyone had any doubts over what the British think of us, it’s become clear that, in their eyes, we are illiterate doughnut-lovers. Not too far off from the truth, I guess.

The Splendid Blond Beast

January 20, 2014

The Splendid Blond Beast

That’s very nice, but I’m not blond.

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